Oral Surgery FAQs

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

If your dentist finds that you are having a problem with your face, jaw, mouth or teeth that goes beyond their expertise, they may refer you to an Oral Surgeon. Issues you may face range from simple extractions to the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer, and reconstructive surgery.

What does it mean if a doctor is Board Certified?

Though not required to practice oral surgery, Certification with the Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a certification awarded to doctors who pass a written and an oral exam. The exams are administered after the candidate has completed an internship and residency program, which must have been pre approved by the board.

Do I need a consultation before treatment?

This depends on the treatment that has been advised. Most of the time, simpler procedures, such as an extraction, can be taken care of the same day. More complicated treatment will likely require a consultation beforehand.

How long will I take to recover?

Everyone’s recovery time is different. The more you allow yourself to rest, the quicker you will get back to your regular daily activities. Make sure you are following the dietary restrictions set forth by your surgeon, avoiding crunchy foods and foods that require a lot of chewing. Rise after
eating, taking care to irrigate the area well.

How long do I need to keep pressure on the gauze?

30 minutes after you get home, you can remove the gauze, wetting it with a sip of water if need be. If you see bright red blood still coming from the site, wet a new piece and place it back in the area and bite down so you’re applying firm pressure for another 30 minutes.

How can I relieve pain? What do I do if I still have pain three to four weeks after an extraction?

Medications should be taken exactly as directed. If your Oral Surgeon gives you antibiotics, be sure to finish all to avoid developing an infection. If you are prescribed pain medication, you may find it beneficial to take one dose when you get home, before the anesthetic wears off. Then
take as directed for the first couple of days. After that, take only as needed. Any pain after three or four weeks should be evaluated by your oral surgeon.

What is happening if my lip and/or tongue feels numb?

Numbness is common and generally will resolve itself after a few days. Make an appointment for re-evaluation if the numbness lasts longer.

What do I do if my stitches come out?

Most likely, your Oral Surgeon used resorbable sutures (stitches that dissolve) and it is completely normal for them to come out on their own. If you find yourself experiencing any heavy bleeding, give your surgeon a call as they may want to see you to examine the area.

How long do the holes in my jaw last after an extraction? What does it mean if I have bad breath after an extraction?

It typically takes about six weeks for the sockets to fully close. Over the next months, the area will fill with bone. Take care when cleaning the surgery site, using the syringe provided to irrigate the area thoroughly. Any food particles left behind can cause bad breath.

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